EDITORIAL Talent and tactics

The battle to cultivate, capture and keep the brightest and best people in every professional walk of life, but in management and leadership in particular, is being waged on global front. To win its share of the spoils that come from attracting talented people, New Zealand needs to think tactically. We do not, after all, have weapons of mass attraction on our side. On the other hand, we do successfully punch above our weight in some endeavours. But in this particular encounter we are competing with the rest of the world. So clever tactics are the order of the day. How can we, for instance, exploit the million strong diaspora of clever Kiwis that work in every corner of enterprise around the world? It seems to us that networks of intelligence behind enemy lines, so to speak, can be valuable counter-balance to shortage of heavy artillery in many skirmishes. New Zealand needs to understand and deploy its unique and specific advantages to capture key positions in the war for talent.
But, as associate editor Vicki Jayne found when she researched this month’s cover story, as the global competition for “top-level talent heats up, New Zealand is justified in feeling tad vulnerable to offshore poaching and fears that the traditional OE may segue into permanent exile”. Even the seemingly more attractive economies are worried about the depletion of their stockpiles of brains and are “working harder to attract globetrotting talent”. The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and host of other nations are waging variety of “skills campaigns” to counter the impact of the departure of an increasing number of managerial mercenaries. And this is war without end. Our transition to becoming “citizens of the world” is changing the way we must think about and react to traditional concepts of home, economic and personal interest. If we want smart people in New Zealand, we need to think smarter about what it takes to capture them.
Two Swedish best-selling business authors, Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom, whose book, Karaoke Capitalism is about to be released in New Zealand, provide additional illustration and evidence of just how much the world is changing in compelling interview in this issue of Management. “As the power of the church and the state dwindles, market forces have become the most powerful faith of our time,” they say. “In the world of karaoke capitalism, individual choice reigns supreme.” And the search for personal career satisfaction and realisation pretty much sums up what the ‘Smarts Wars’ is all about. As these authors point out: “A unique talent grants you global passport.” I think you will find this issue of the magazine uniquely useful read.

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